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Feminism, fame, art, commerce, and autonomy

Elisa Albert

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition, University at Albany
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Free and open to the public.

Elisa Albert’s new novel is Human Blues (2022), the story of Aviva Rosner, a successful singer-songwriter who desperately wants a child, though she struggles with infertility and is extremely wary of assisted reproductive technology.


The New York Times reviewer called it, “[An] explosively hip, funny and heartfelt book,” and said it, “takes off with magnificent speed and never lets up.” Writing in Gawker, Lily Meyer said, “Few contemporary authors embody feminine swagger like [Elisa Albert].”

Her previous books include the novels, After Birth (2015) and The Book of Dahlia (2008), and the story collection, How This Night Is Different (2006).

About Elisa Albert

Her fiction and essays have been published in n+1, Tin House, Bennington Review, The New York Times, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, Philip Roth Studies, Paris Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Longreads, The Cut, Time Magazine, Post Road, Gulf Coast, Commentary, Salon, Tablet, Washington Square, The Rumpus, The Believer and in many anthologies.

She has taught creative writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, The College of Saint Rose, Bennington College, Texas State University, University of Maine, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.


A Pushcart Prize nominee, finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize and Paterson Fiction Prize, winner of the Moment magazine debut fiction prize, and Literary Death Match champion, Albert has served as Writer-in-Residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Holland and at the Hanse-Wissenschaftkolleg in Germany. | |

More about Human Blues

A provocative and “darkly funny” (Cosmopolitan) novel about a woman who desperately wants a child but struggles to accept the use of assisted reproductive technology—a “riotous, visceral” (Vanity Fair) send-up of feminism, fame, art, commerce, and autonomy.

On the eve of her fourth album, singer-songwriter Aviva Rosner is plagued by infertility. The twist: as much as Aviva wants a child, she is wary of technological conception, and has poured her ambivalence into her music. As the album makes its way in the world, the shock of the response from fans and critics is at first exciting — and then invasive and strange. Aviva never wanted to be famous, or did she? Meanwhile, her evolving obsession with another iconic musician, gone too soon, might just help her make sense of things.

Told over the course of nine menstrual cycles, this utterly original novel is a “fast, fiery, and often funny” (The Boston Globe) interrogation of our cultural obsession with childbearing. It’s also the story of one fearless woman at the crossroads, ruthlessly questioning what she wants and what she’s willing—or not willing—to do to get it.

Praise for Human Blues

“Crackling and bighearted...A powerhouse [that] echoes with the truth that we find harmony when we listen first to ourselves.” —Oprah Daily
“Takes off with magnificent speed and never lets up.” —The New York Times
“Revolutionary.” —NPR’s Morning Edition
Elisa Albert, credit Tanja Hollander

(Photo credit: Tanja Hollander)

Human Blues book cover
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